Funding for agricultural research projects included in the omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed into law by President Bush in January, could help Alabama farmers find new ways to treat costly diseases, expand marketing opportunities for some crops, and explore high-tech management practices for others.

The bill includes more than $5 million for agricultural research at Alabama facilities, says Keith Gray, national affairs director for the Alabama Farmers Federation.

“Last year, the Federation's producer-elected commodity committees set research priorities, and we've been working with our congressional delegation to secure funding for projects which will help Alabama farmers become more profitable,” says Gray. “Our senators and congressmen deserve credit for insuring that Alabama's thriving agricultural industry received the research funding it needs to remain competitive.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, “I'm pleased to announce funding for many important projects in Alabama. These funds will improve the quality of life for the residents of these communities.”

The following Alabama projects were included in the bill: Catfish Disease Research — $990,000; Catfish Genome Research — $896,985; Alabama Beef Connection — $338,000; Alabama Land Grant Alliance — $1.194 million; Horn Fly Vaccine Research — $135,000; Soil Dynamics Lab Soil Practices — $770,000; Nursery, Greenhouse and Turf Research — $277,000; Tri-State Joint Peanut Research — $536,000; Precision Agriculture/Forestry — $585,000; Farmers Market Senior Nutrition Program (nationwide) — $23 million; and Alabama Rural Economic Action Plan — $500,000.